Notes Tigers Breaks Golf Etiquette

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Zach Johnson and Sergia Garcia were finishing out the ninth hole at East Lake when someone else's ball came skidding through the green.
 
Guess who was too strong for his own good? Tiger Woods.
 
On his way to a dominating eight-stroke win in the TOUR Championship, Woods also violated one of golf's basic no-no's Sunday by hitting into the group ahead of him.
 
It happened at the par-5 ninth to the penultimate twosome. Garcia needed extra time after knocking his second shot into the adjacent first fairway. Johnson also took three shots to reach the green on the 600-yard hole.
 
Coming up right behind them was Woods, whose booming drive still left him 286 yards from the flag. He went ahead and played his second shot with a 5-wood, aiming for a bunker. Instead, he wound up reaching the green that Garcia and Johnson were still playing.
 
'Obviously, he didn't think he'd be able to get it there,' said Garcia, who salvaged a par. 'Somehow he did. It was no big deal.'
 
It appeared to affect Johnson, who three-putted from 29 feet for a bogey at a hole that provided plenty of birdies. But he dismissed the breakdown in etiquette.
 
'I had no idea whose ball it was,' said Johnson, who tied for second with Mark Calcavecchia. 'I figured it was Tiger's. But it didn't get to me. I just lost my focus a little bit.'
 
Woods apologized to Garcia and Johnson.
 
'I didn't think I could hit it that far,' the winner said.
 
STRICKER'S SEASON:
Steve Stricker closed out his surprising season by finishing second in the FedExCup, edging Phil Mickelson for the runner-up spot.
 
Stricker closed with a 3-under 67, though a mediocre third round (71) ended any hopes of claiming the $10 million prize.
 
'I wish I had given myself a better chance,' Stricker said. 'I just couldn't get the putter going.'
 
All in all, though, it was a remarkable year for a player who lost his card two years ago and came into this season with just over $10 million in career earnings. He played in the final group of a major for the first time at the British Open, and has top-10 finishes in the first three events of the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
 
He tied for 17th among 30 players at the TOUR Championship.
 
'Overall, I'm just elated with the year I had,' Stricker said. 'I feel like I'm a much more confident player. I'm striking the ball better. I'm more aggressive.'
 
But it won't change his lifestyle. After the Presidents Cup, he'll spend the winter at his home in Wisconsin, getting in some bow hunting with friends and probably taking a few practice swings in the snow.
 
'In December,' he said, 'I'll be out there hitting a few.'
 
SHAKY PUTTER:
Mark Calcavecchia knew his odds of catching Tiger Woods were slim to begin with -- and he had no chance when the putter faltered.
 
Calcavecchia, who started the final round three shots back, wound up eight behind in a tie for second after closing with a 1-over 71.
 
After starting with a birdie, Calcavecchia's putting woes began when he missed a 6-footer to save par at the par-3 second. Woods also lipped out a short putt, leaving his lead at two strokes.
 
Woods made his first birdie at No. 6, but Calcavacchia had a chance to get it back when he stood over a 4-footer at the next hole. But the ball skidded by the cup and he settled for par, which turned out to be his final gasp.
 
Woods responded with two straight birdies, made the turn with a four-shot lead and steadily pulled away. When Calcavacchia missed a 5-foot birdie try at No. 16, he tossed his putter toward the bag in disgust.
 
Still, he had no complaints about where he finished in the elite field.
 
'I had no expectations coming in here,' Calcavecchia said. 'I was clearly the favorite to finish 30th this week, and tying for second in pretty good.'
 
GEORGIA ON HIS MIND:
Zach Johnson might want to lobby to play all PGA TOUR events in the state of Georgia.
 
In April, he claimed his first major at the Masters. A month after his Augusta triumph, he won the AT&T Classic in suburban Atlanta. Finally, he tied for second in the Tour Championship, not far from downtown Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club.
 
'Georgia has been awfully kind to me,' Johnson said. 'I'm very, very thankful.'
 
LEFTY'S WOES:
Phil Mickelson's up-and-down year took another dip in the wrong direction at East Lake.
 
Lefty shot 70 and 71 on the weekend, even though the course was set up to go low. He wound up 20th, a staggering 18 strokes behind winner Tiger Woods.
 
Asked how he played, Mickelson replied, 'Oh, not so great.'
 
He had a chance to claim the inaugural FedExCup but never seriously challenged Woods' grip on the mammoth prize. In a sense, that epitomized Mickelson's year.
 
He won three times. He lost twice in playoffs. But he went through June and July without cashing a paycheck, missing the cut at the both the U.S. and British Opens.
 
'It's hard for me to grade my year, because I've had such highs and such lows,' Mickelson said. 'It's something I'm going to get to address in the offseason and try to get back to being a little more consistent and having opportunities to win.'
 
STAT OF THE DAY:
East Lake finally toughened up on the final day. For the first time all week, the course played over par at 70.167. The first three rounds averaged less than 68.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."